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Last Updated: Monday, 23 October 2006, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
Sony to 'block PS3 Euro imports'
Sony will be blocking attempts to import the console
Sony has said it will use the "full scope of the law" to block the importing of PlayStation 3s (PS3) into Europe before its official release.

The much-anticipated games console goes on sale in the US and Japan next month but is not out in Europe until 2007.

Last week a British judge ruled that Hong Kong import/export firm Lik-Sang could not sell the Japanese version of Sony's handheld PSP in Europe.

The case sets a precedent for would-be importers of PlayStation 3 consoles.

A spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) told the BBC: "The law is clear, and grey importing PS2, PSP or PS3 into the EU, without the express permission of SCEE is illegal.

"Therefore, we will utilise the full scope of the law to put a stop to any retailers who chose to do this."

PlayStation 3
The PlayStation 3 has cost billions of dollars to produce

Critics of Sony's approach feel that the electronics giant is preventing gamers in Europe from getting their hands on PlayStation 3s early, even if they have to pay a hefty premium.

The spokesman said: "Ultimately, we're trying to protect consumers from being sold hardware that does not conform to strict EU or UK consumer safety standards."

He pointed out that the Japanese or American PS3 models would not play older European-sold software for the first two PlayStations, would not play EU Blu-ray movies or DVDs, and would not be covered by a warranty.

The decision to delay the release of the PS3 in Europe - due to stock shortages of vital components for the machine's Blu-ray player - came as a blow to players in the world's second-biggest games market.

The machine will be released in Europe in March, while it goes on sale on November 17 in the US and November 11 in Japan.

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